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I'm currently running The Chronicles of the Gatekeeper for a couple of friends of mine. We've just started "Episode II - Chasing Ghosts", and one of my players is a little sad that his plan to play as a mid-Morality Force-user isn't working out like he hoped. 

His character is the son of a Nightsister and a Jedi Knight, and he originally planned to walk the line between the Light Side and the Dark Side of the Force, maybe ultimately becoming a Gray Jedi... until he realized that there's no mechanical benefit for having a Morality between 30 and 70, and decided he might as well go all-the way Light. He's still hoping that he can return to his original character concept, and has asked if we could modify the Morality system to allow some kind of benefit for walking the middle-of-the-road path. 

I've seen GroggyGolem's KOTOR-inspired Serenity table, and I plan to use it from now on, but what I'm looking for is a reason to stay in the middle. Maybe a houserule which allows characters whose Morality falls within a narrow band (say, 45-55) to choose freely between using dark pips and light pips on Force Dice without taking Strain or having to flip a Destiny Point? Or maybe I could allow middle-Morality characters to use both Light and Dark versions of certain powers (like Protect and Force Lightning) as if they met the Morality prerequisites for both. Would allowing this break the system and make his PC too powerful?

Side question: Are there any Force Powers that are only used by Gray Jedi? 

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3 minutes ago, LazerSwordsman said:

...choose freely between using dark pips and light pips on Force Dice without taking Strain or having to flip a Destiny Point?

This is broken AF, and makes no narrative sense.

As for the benefit of being a "Grey Jedi", as I see it, it is having the moral latitude to address any given challenge in a way that suits you. Rather than in a way that suits the Will of the Force.

If you're not engaging the Morality mechanic very well as a GM/table, then that might not seem like any sort of benefit at all.

But if you're using Conflict as a way to frame your game, and any given scenario, as a choice between the easy way (where if your Player(s) choose to take some sort of Conflict-worthy action it creates some sort of "shortcut" in the challenge or plot), and the hard way (using methods that generate no Conflict), then it can become a very significant benefit.

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Well alright, I guess the mechanic I suggested is a little broken. That's why I wanted to run it by you guys first before implementing it at the gaming table. :)

I've been trying to give my players opportunities to choose between difficult-but-good options and easy-but-evil options, but so far they don't seem to have taken the bait. Despite one being half-Nightsister and the other being a former thief from Nar Shadaa, both PCs have consistently chosen the good option over the bad. They've both become Light Side Paragons recently, even though neither of them planned to. They never seem to accrue more than a handful of Conflict per session. Maybe I'm not making the Dark Side tempting enough, or maybe I'm not making it difficult enough to be Light Side? How can I make the Dark Side more tempting for them, and what reasons can I give the half-Nightsister to seek -- and remain in -- the middle?

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None of the above.

If someone wants their character to be fully light-side, the system is designed to allow that. Likewise if someone wants their character to be dark-side, or to bounce around in the middle, or have a rise-and-fall, or fall-and-redemption, or whatever other arc they feel like going for.

And if no one is really all that engaged with the narrative angle, ditch morality in favor of something else - duty or obligation work just fine for force sensitives, and they may be more appropriate to the character/campaign.

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Playing a "grey Jedi" in that that you're neither light side or dark side is largely the default for Force users, as you're in the mid-range regarding the two extremes of the Morality scale.

As emsquared said, being able to freely choose between using light or dark pips without any consequence is way too powerful of an option, to the point that you might as well just not bother rolling Force dice and just let Force powers go off at a rate of each Force die counts as one Force point.  Which in turn is going to seriously skew the game in favor Force users, something FFG has taken great pains to avoid.

If you're looking to encourage the players to use dark side pips more frequently in your games, the easiest solution that doesn't break the game is simply remove the destiny point cost.  From my own experiences, if there's no requirement to spend a destiny point, then players (who aren't going Lawful Good Paladin route) are going to be a lot more tempted to use those dark pips to fuel their Force powers.  Using the dark pips should still carry the strain and conflict costs (or just strain if you're not using the full Morality mechanics).

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Posted (edited)

Thing with being a grey Jedi is it was either used as a term of slander for non-conformists or Sith/darksider pretending to be Jedi. Needless to say, pretending to be half evil because balance is silly to me, being a paragon is being emotionally balanced, it doesn't necessarily make you a good person. way I see it is being conflicted isn't the reward, but getting the job done is. It's executing that high risk prisoner, used the force at its full potential or acted in a way that is less safe, but benifical in the now.

 

i think I got something that works thematically though and ties into what the darkside is: when between 30 and 70, offer a conflicted character one automatic dark side pip on every force check that a character can use for free! No DP flip, one strain. The catch is the pip is worth two conflict, or doubles the conflict of the action the player took within the scene; whichever is greater. That way your player has the effective advantage of always having that extra force pip they might need, but introduce a nice insidious consequence that is typically of the dark side and actually of the night sisters, who's ancestors do have impact on the living.

 

That chaotic line between corruption and cself control is a path that should always threaten to drown them, forever inviting the player to cross that line. I feel any force boon should have that in mind, it's available to them, but the price of admission should be high. 

Edited by LordBritish

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Quick note, I'm not aware of any Morality requirements to use any force powers.  The "duality" force powers tend to just have certain consequences or specifically require LS or DS pips to use.

If you want to attach some mechanical benefit to staying in the middle, here are some ideas:

- They roll two force dice when generating the destiny pool and all pips contribute (this might be too good and overshadow the similar effect being a LS/DS paragon gives).

- At the end of story arcs they get a 5XP discount when purchasing force powers or force power upgrades (basically a small XP reward for role-playing the concept)

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, LordBritish said:

...offer a conflicted character one automatic dark side pip on every force check...

This is something that should be done if the PCs are near a Darkside nexus, or even a situation where emotions are running high (an angry mob, a target who is very fearful, or raging mad).

But it is broken (gameable) and devalues the above significant narrative circumstances to allow any "grey" this benefit at any time.

To tempt Players to use the Darkside when activating Powers, you mostly just need to make sure the result of it is worth that Conflict (+Strain +Destiny). Just say, yes, you can do that, if there's any question as to whether a given result is within the bounds of a PCs given Power with it's current state of Upgrades. This isn't breaking the game - it may disrupt "your plot", or a given encounter, but that's the whole point of the Force. If it's no better than an analogous Skill, why use it?

Force Users lag behind "normal" PCs in every other way, so let the Force be better than a Skill check, let it create shortcuts, let your Force Users be awesome when they use the Force, and they will seek to use the Force regardless of the cost.

Edited by emsquared

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Posted (edited)

The typical issue with grey jedi is that it's mostly for players who want to have their cake and eat it; to be a cool anti-hero and fling force lightning while still being one of the good guys.

While I agree that the freedom to do whatever you want is enough incentive to stay in the middle, I wonder if the morality system would be improved by the path to the dark side was a little more... slippery slope-y.

12 hours ago, LordBritish said:

i think I got something that works thematically though and ties into what the darkside is: when between 30 and 70, offer a conflicted character one automatic dark side pip on every force check that a character can use for free! No DP flip, one strain. The catch is the pip is worth two conflict, or doubles the conflict of the action the player took within the scene; whichever is greater. That way your player has the effective advantage of always having that extra force pip they might need, but introduce a nice insidious consequence that is typically of the dark side and actually of the night sisters, who's ancestors do have impact on the living.

This is quite interesting and introduces something that makes the dark side easier and more tempting, but also something to loose by falling to the dark side.

It got me thinking whether the DP flip should be waived altogether for using the dark side, but as you suggested, doubling the conflict cost, for ALL light side characters.

This would push characters more towards the middle, not because it's somewhere you want to be, but because it's tempting to act in a way that puts you there.

It would also be incentive to stray close to falling, yet being careful to cross the line lest they're forced to start flipping DP for using half their force pips (and going back to the light requires you to get back up to 70, which is a female dog in general).

This might make lightside characters OP, but if they make use of it they wont be lightside for very long. Basically you get a rush of power as you race to the bottom, and once you're there, it's not as attractive anymore. Still, perhaps a single free pip would be enough to do the job, but I absolutely think it should apply to all lightsiders, not just those in the middle. The temptation of the dark side should be as present to paragons as anyone else.

EDIT: If the bookkeeping doesn't drive you nuts, you could make the conflict cost exponential, ie the session's first dark side pip nets you one conflict, the second two conflict, the third three and so on.

Or just tally up the dark side pips you've used during the session and at the end, square the number for conflict. ;)

Edited by penpenpen

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Oh my lawd, it's driving me crazy...

6 minutes ago, penpenpen said:

I wonder if the morality system would be improved by the path to the dark side was a little more... slippery slope-y.

This is not what the Morality system is for.

This thought process is why so many people have so many problems with using it.

Look at the mechanical "place" of Morality, in the Force and Destiny "system".

It sits in the exact same spot as Obligation and Duty. Those mechanics are there to help create interesting story developments, and rp choices, and to assist the player in telling the PC's story. It's a meta-level, player-driven story mechanic.

It is not supposed to be an adversarial, "gotchya" mechanic, where the GM is trying to "trick" the player into falling to the Darkside. This is not the intent. It is there for the player (and GM) to use mindfully, to show the ways in which their PC is light or dark.

By design, by RAW, it is supposed to be 100% in the control of the Player (by RAW, the GM is supposed to notify them any time they're gonna do something that earns Conflict), whether or not their PC is light, dark, or in between.

The vanilla game mechanic of Morality is not supposed to be a mechanical nor narrative slippery slope. It supposed to be a narrative ladder, or staircase, which the Player ascends or descends deliberately.

If you want it to be that gotchya-mechanic, slippery slope, yea, you're gonna have to make some big changes to the way it works, and even then it's still probably not gonna work that way for you. As we see from accounts from players time and again here who try to use it that way. That wasn't it's design purpose, and frankly it's hard to use it in a way it's not intended.

It's just unfortunate most ppl don't seem to understand the intent of it.

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39 minutes ago, penpenpen said:

The typical issue with grey jedi is that it's mostly for players who want to have their cake and eat it; to be a cool anti-hero and fling force lightning while still being one of the good guys.

While I agree that the freedom to do whatever you want is enough incentive to stay in the middle, I wonder if the morality system would be improved by the path to the dark side was a little more... slippery slope-y.

From what I recall, the whole notion of the "grey Jedi" sprang up during the D6 days, as a way for players to be able to use Force powers that per RAW automatically awarded dark side points when used but without having to incur those dark side points.  To put in to SWFFG terms, it's akin to being able to use dark pips rolled on your Force die as if they were white pips without having to suffer conflict, strain, or flip a Destiny Point.  It was largely derided as a munchkin approach and flying completely in the face of what the Star Wars lore was at the time, where the dichotomy between light side and dark side was much starker regarding Force users.  Then again, WEG had a very punitive dark side mechanic, where a PC had only so much room for error before their character wound up being an NPC.

As for the current Morality mechanic, as emsquared noted FFG didn't really intend for it.to be a punitive mechanic the way that prior SWRPGs handled tracking dark side points.  From what the recent lore has shown, one really doesn't just "accidentally" slide into being a full-blown dark sider, but that it takes a deliberate choice and deliberate action to fully embrace the dark side; how far down the rabbit hole a particular Force user goes is up to them, but it's ultimately a matter of choice.  Even Anakin took a while to fall, with Palps slowly and judiciously nudging the boy over the course of his Jedi apprenticeship and the Clone Wars themselves until he reached the point of making that fateful decision to willingly embrace the dark side.  Yes, being a dark sider in this system carries penalties, but compared to prior SWRPGs those penalties are pretty light.

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Posted (edited)
46 minutes ago, emsquared said:

It sits in the exact same spot as Obligation and Duty. Those mechanics are there to help create interesting story developments, and rp choices, and to assist the player in telling the PC's story. It's a meta-level, player-driven story mechanic.

Sadly, it does a far worse job of it than obligation (but still better than Duty). As a GM, it usually not that hard to throw in a story element tied to whatever obligation comes up at the start of the session as they're usually pretty straight-forward, but the moral dilemmas the morality system encourages are a lot harder to throw in, and as a GM I pretty much only use them when I manage to work them in or an opportunity falls into my lap, and rely on obligation as a "the session's random character arc"-mechanic (as we tend to play mixed EotE/FaD campaigns anyway).

46 minutes ago, emsquared said:

It is not supposed to be an adversarial, "gotchya" mechanic, where the GM is trying to "trick" the player into falling to the Darkside. This is not the intent. It is there for the player (and GM) to use mindfully, to show the ways in which their PC is light or dark.

By design, by RAW, it is supposed to be 100% in the control of the Player (by RAW, the GM is supposed to notify them any time they're gonna do something that earns Conflict), whether or not their PC is light, dark, or in between.

I have no idea why it would be adversarial. I see it as a calculated trade-off. Dip into the darkside every now and then (the player decides exactly how much, and should be aware of the cost) for some extra power, but risk losing your sweet paragon bonuses and falling to the dark side. Stuff like fear checks could be considered more of a "gotcha" mechanic as it can net you conflict with no choice made by either player or character.

And 100% control is hardly supported by RAW as you use a random number generator as the main component of modifying morality. ;)

46 minutes ago, emsquared said:

The vanilla game mechanic of Morality is not supposed to be a mechanical nor narrative slippery slope. It supposed to be a narrative ladder, or staircase, which the Player ascends or descends deliberately.

If you want it to be that gotchya-mechanic, slippery slope, yea, you're gonna have to make some big changes to the way it works, and even then it's still probably not gonna work that way for you. As we see from accounts from players time and again here who try to use it that way. That wasn't it's design purpose, and frankly it's hard to use it in a way it's not intended.

As I said, there is randomness built into the system, so you can make very deliberate choices and still go in the opposite direction. I don't see how my ideas would make it more random or less deliberate in any way. Dark side pips are already designed to be a temptation, I'm merely considering lowering the threshold and increasing the end cost.

46 minutes ago, emsquared said:

It's just unfortunate most ppl don't seem to understand the intent of it.

Well, we can disagree on the devs' intent all day, but what matters is what we want to make of it. If you feel my suggestions push the system in a direction you feel you don't like. That's fine. I have only rarely been known to track people down, kick in their door and scream abuse at them for not using my house rules, so you're probably safe. Also, I'm super busy the next two weeks, so I probably couldn't fit you in anyway. ;)

Edited by penpenpen

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1 hour ago, emsquared said:

Oh my lawd, it's driving me crazy...

This is not what the Morality system is for.

This thought process is why so many people have so many problems with using it.

Look at the mechanical "place" of Morality, in the Force and Destiny "system".

It sits in the exact same spot as Obligation and Duty. Those mechanics are there to help create interesting story developments, and rp choices, and to assist the player in telling the PC's story. It's a meta-level, player-driven story mechanic.

It is not supposed to be an adversarial, "gotchya" mechanic, where the GM is trying to "trick" the player into falling to the Darkside. This is not the intent. It is there for the player (and GM) to use mindfully, to show the ways in which their PC is light or dark.

By design, by RAW, it is supposed to be 100% in the control of the Player (by RAW, the GM is supposed to notify them any time they're gonna do something that earns Conflict), whether or not their PC is light, dark, or in between.

The vanilla game mechanic of Morality is not supposed to be a mechanical nor narrative slippery slope. It supposed to be a narrative ladder, or staircase, which the Player ascends or descends deliberately.

If you want it to be that gotchya-mechanic, slippery slope, yea, you're gonna have to make some big changes to the way it works, and even then it's still probably not gonna work that way for you. As we see from accounts from players time and again here who try to use it that way. That wasn't it's design purpose, and frankly it's hard to use it in a way it's not intended.

It's just unfortunate most ppl don't seem to understand the intent of it.

I agree with this for the most part but all three of these 'core' mechanics put a lot of the onus at the table on the GM to bring it out.  With Obligation and Duty this is trivial for the GM as the PCs choice of Obligation/Duty are easy to create events around.  But for Morality it is a lot trickier and it gets close to violating one of the tenets of good GMing.  It's harder for a GM to engage the emotions (Strength/Weakness) because those are all internal to the PC and the GM shouldn't get heavy handed and dictate what a PC is feeling or thinking (I'm not suggesting you were recommending this).  But the essence of your comment is really good and one I think the core F&D book did a horrible job of explaining (mis-explaining): this mechanics is more of a PC mechanic and it's up to them to use it and push it at the table.  The RAW puts most of it on the GM to challenge the PCs Morality (not adversarially) and vaguely and tersely mentions discussing together with the player how to bring in their Strength/Weakness (if their Morality is triggered) into the story.  It's certainly the impression I have from seeing Morality discussed on these forums and from reading RAW that Morality is primarily a GM tool.  And the design of Morality reinforces that - the other two mechanics (Obligation, Duty) don't let a determined PC rocket to extremes of the mechanical scale (I suppose a PC could push to keep gaining obligation but the GM has ultimate control), and the book is mostly concerned with GM action (even in the player section).  The mentality pushed by the core book is GM's should look for moral choices, dilemmas, etc that engage the PCs Morality (Strength/Weakness) and NOT so much that the PC should push it out there.  Seems like an oversight, especially as most of the Strength/Weaknesses are emotions or mental approaches to problems/issues so ultimately it is a PC driven thing.

I guess my point is that the core book itself doesn't do a good job of encouraging or even describing the good mentality/intent you have. 

And to build on that, if the PC wants to be a "Grey Jedi" there needs to be discussion with the player about what that means for them and how much push they want from the GM in the game to change Morality.

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1 hour ago, penpenpen said:

the moral dilemmas the morality system encourages are a lot harder to throw in

Good ol' penpen...

I agree, it's hard to plan out and implement specific Moral Strength/Weakness "challenges".

That's why I don't do that.

All you have to do is look for opportunities in your regularly-scheduled programming to their in the opportunity for them to start combat or to lie or coerce or steal or murder someone to make their PCs lives easier.

Pretend like you're Mr. Robot, just look for any situation's and/or NPC's hack, it's usually right there viewable on a very basic level.

"Ok, they want/need to break into this facility. Well I'll show them this Lieutenant out on the town, with his wife. They'll see they could coerce him through threatening her. Show them this clumsy janitor dropping his access card, they'll see they can steal that from him. Don't have that patrol immediately open fire on them have them start radioing in the PCs appearances, they're gonna want to stop that. Have that bounty hunter surrender he's a dangerous mofo that they're either gonna have to tow around now or murder." The list goes on and on, and/or repeats with slight variation. And if they use any of those opportunities, it makes their lives easier as Players, easier checks, less objectives to achieve, whatever.

It's very easy - once your start looking at things this way, and assisted by the narrative dice - to casually insert significant moral choices when you just tie them immediately to what they're doing in any given moment.

Combine these casual uses of moral choices with regular use of the Fear mechanics, and with making Force Power use attractive via just letting the Force do cool stuff, (along with getting buy in from players for intellectual honesty/assistance with implementing the mechanic) and it's much easier to have a functioning Morality mechanic.

1 hour ago, penpenpen said:

I have no idea why it would be adversarial.

Yea, me too. Can't imagine why someone who sees themself as playing a "Jedi" would view being given "Darkside points" as an attack on their PC or RP. Really hard to understand that one.

1 hour ago, penpenpen said:

 And 100% control is hardly supported by RAW as you use a random number generator as the main component of modifying morality.

 

1 hour ago, penpenpen said:

you can make very deliberate choices and still go in the opposite direction.

... bee-ecause... no one can figure out how to account for an average result of 6?

Good one.

1 hour ago, penpenpen said:

If you feel my suggestions push the system in a direction you feel you don't like. That's fine.

Says the guy who couldn't stand to be contradicted indirectly (I didn't comment on your specific proposed mechanic, indeed I've waived the Destiny cost myself for some games) and not say something.

The general tone and angle of the thread at large was going in the direction of "you needed to 'punish' the players more for 'naughty' choices". I wanted to turn that around.

Sorry your advocacy got caught in the middle.

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, emsquared said:

I agree, it's hard to plan out and implement specific Moral Strength/Weakness "challenges".

That's why I don't do that.

All you have to do is look for opportunities in your regularly-scheduled programming to their in the opportunity for them to start combat or to lie or coerce or steal or murder someone to make their PCs lives easier.

Pretend like you're Mr. Robot, just look for any situation's and/or NPC's hack, it's usually right there viewable on a very basic level.

"Ok, they want/need to break into this facility. Well I'll show them this Lieutenant out on the town, with his wife. They'll see they could coerce him through threatening her. Show them this clumsy janitor dropping his access card, they'll see they can steal that from him. Don't have that patrol immediately open fire on them have them start radioing in the PCs appearances, they're gonna want to stop that. Have that bounty hunter surrender he's a dangerous mofo that they're either gonna have to tow around now or murder." The list goes on and on, and/or repeats with slight variation. And if they use any of those opportunities, it makes their lives easier as Players, easier checks, less objectives to achieve, whatever.

It's very easy - once your start looking at things this way, and assisted by the narrative dice - to casually insert significant moral choices when you just tie them immediately to what they're doing in any given moment.

Combine these casual uses of moral choices with regular use of the Fear mechanics, and with making Force Power use attractive via just letting the Force do cool stuff, (along with getting buy in from players for intellectual honesty/assistance with implementing the mechanic) and it's much easier to have a functioning Morality mechanic.

 

This is great advice, it's something I've struggled with as a GM, particularly making it a regularly occurring feature of story elements (seems like it can get heavy handed and annoy the players if that 'slight variation' you mention isn't pulled off well enough).

It also plays into something I've wanted to change at my table - and actually relates directly to playing a Grey Jedi (see I am on topic!): For determined players it's too easy to rocket to paragon.  In a group where you have players - particularly ones playing Jedi explicitly - who aren't really tempted by the trade-off of making the plot points of the story easier for doing something morally wrong/evil (gain Conflict) it's even more difficult.  Sure, players should get rewarded by moving up in Morality by doing the right thing but it's still too quick.  PCs using Duty can't skyrocket to Contribution Rank 10 just making good choices in a half-dozen sessions.  My preference is for attaining LS Paragon should feel like and be an actual achievement.  Gray Jedi will have this issue (which has already been mentioned) because it can be hard not to go up for many players and playing a Gray Jedi should be more about role-playing the concept rather than gaming the meta of the Morality system ("oh, I'm getting to high in Morality, I guess it's time to kill another hobo").  But as you say GMs can and should be judicious when to call for a Morality check and that at the end of a session may not be what's best for the function and feel of the game (rolling at the end of story arcs instead).

Edited by Jedi Ronin

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4 hours ago, Jedi Ronin said:

Quick note, I'm not aware of any Morality requirements to use any force powers.  The "duality" force powers tend to just have certain consequences or specifically require LS or DS pips to use.

If you want to attach some mechanical benefit to staying in the middle, here are some ideas:

- They roll two force dice when generating the destiny pool and all pips contribute (this might be too good and overshadow the similar effect being a LS/DS paragon gives).

- At the end of story arcs they get a 5XP discount when purchasing force powers or force power upgrades (basically a small XP reward for role-playing the concept)

Not true. There is at least one Force power which has a strict "Alignment" requirement. Heal. Heal cannot be used by Dark Side characters they can only heal themselves or others through the use of Harm, draining the life force from one person to transfer it to himself or another. Protect also has restrictions, depending upon the "alignment" of the user, though not as severe as Heal. A Dark Side character may only use Protect on himself. He cannot use it to protect someone else. 

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17 minutes ago, Tramp Graphics said:

Not true. There is at least one Force power which has a strict "Alignment" requirement. Heal. Heal cannot be used by Dark Side characters they can only heal themselves or others through the use of Harm, draining the life force from one person to transfer it to himself or another. Protect also has restrictions, depending upon the "alignment" of the user, though not as severe as Heal. A Dark Side character may only use Protect on himself. He cannot use it to protect someone else. 

I'd forgotten some had Light/Dark-side force user only restrictions.  This however doesn't affect Grey Jedi unless they drop below 30 Morality, so if they're staying in the expected Morality band they don't have any Force Power restrictions.

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Well, that was an unexpectedly salty reply. If I was the one who set that tone, I apologize and assure you it was unintentional, and any attempt at humor was meant to be at my own expense, not yours. How about we make a mutual effort to continue in a more civil and less adversarial manner?

35 minutes ago, emsquared said:

Good ol' penpen...

Not that old. Also, probably not that good either, but the less said about my shortcomings the better.

36 minutes ago, emsquared said:

All you have to do is look for opportunities in your regularly-scheduled programming to their in the opportunity for them to start combat or to lie or coerce or steal or murder someone to make their PCs lives easier.

Pretend like you're Mr. Robot, just look for any situation's and/or NPC's hack, it's usually right there viewable on a very basic level.

It's pretty much what I do, but as @Jedi Ronin said, it's tricky to do without risking telling players what their characters are thinking and feeling. Of course, ideally, the players play into this (and for the most part, mine do), but what might be the issue is that I quite seldom run into much of an issue regarding the whether the PCs engage in unprovoked violence/outright murder/standard murder-hobo behavior. For the most part they act as fairly normal so the issue whether or not they'll execute surrendering enemies/steal from innocent people etc is usually a moot point (they won't) and if they do it rarely ties into their morality. Sure, if your morality is mercy/weakness or something like that the surrendering enemy trick works, but how many times can you pull something off in a campaign for each morality before it's starting to feel forced, and not all moralities are that easy to tie into conflict worthy dilemmas.

If you can pull that off every session, well, then my hat's off to you because you're succeeding where I'm failing. (I blame everything on my bleeding heart players)

3 hours ago, emsquared said:

Says the guy who couldn't stand to be contradicted indirectly (I didn't comment on your specific proposed mechanic, indeed I've waived the Destiny cost myself for some games) and not say something.

I'm perfectly fine with being contradicted, otherwise there wouldn't be much of a discussion. Now, since you quoted me, I took it as a direct reply to my post. Since it wasn't, I have less things to reply to in kind. I was mostly quite bewildered by some comments, such as why handing out more conflict under the same circumstances as RAW would suddenly be an adversarial "Gotcha"-move. If that wasn't directed at me, it suddenly makes a lot more sense. ;)

3 hours ago, emsquared said:

The general tone and angle of the thread at large was going in the direction of "you needed to 'punish' the players more for 'naughty' choices". I wanted to turn that around.

Sorry your advocacy got caught in the middle.

👍

And to clarify regarding the slippery slope-comment. I was not implying you should slip and fall to the dark side completely by accident, but making it tempting to risk straying close to the edge, and consequences should you end up crossing it.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, emsquared said:

This is something that should be done if the PCs are near a Darkside nexus, or even a situation where emotions are running high (an angry mob, a target who is very fearful, or raging mad).

But it is broken (gameable) and devalues the above significant narrative circumstances to allow any "grey" this benefit at any time.

To tempt Players to use the Darkside when activating Powers, you mostly just need to make sure the result of it is worth that Conflict (+Strain +Destiny). Just say, yes, you can do that, if there's any question as to whether a given result is within the bounds of a PCs given Power with it's current state of Upgrades. This isn't breaking the game - it may disrupt "your plot", or a given encounter, but that's the whole point of the Force. If it's no better than an analogous Skill, why use it?

Force Users lag behind "normal" PCs in every other way, so let the Force be better than a Skill check, let it create shortcuts, let your Force Users be awesome when they use the Force, and they will seek to use the Force regardless of the cost.

That's a fair assessment, that's why I suggested potentially doubling the conflict of the action instead of merely gaining 2 conflict for spending the floating pip. The intent behind it was to show that being conflicted is a potentially volatile space that can greatly enhance the outbursts of the force user, but at great emotional costs. Perhaps you have a point with it being strong; maybe it shouldn't be an option they always have but is one available in those stressful situations where being decisive.

That being said, never been a fan of the "Grey Jedi" idea so that's as far as my advice can really go. Way I see it, you are either have a fairly clear outlook on life, struggling in that dangerous transition phase of disharmony or a member of the dark side who is evil and really is beyond such petty concerns as long as they come out on top. I don't believe naturality should bring any benefit as neutrality isn't a real force. This is someone who is coming from someone who sat in the "grey" camp for two years in game, not because of any mystical benefits but because my character was struggling to survive in a war where titanic forces were involved that forced him to make difficult decisions regularly, being involved in an AOR campaign where gigantic colleterial damage was always on the cards is, my reward for taking conflict was to either push myself beyond sentient limits and/or make morally cloudy decisions that saved others. The idea of someone existing in this space just to "use both aspects of the force" is profoundly strange to me, so the advice I can give is fairly limited.


I feel inspired to go on a bit of a tangent, so bare with me on this one.

Which isn't to say I'm not a fan of other cultures and perspectives.; personally I find it more interesting to explore those then the genetic space monk and evil crusaders to the extent that I feel having either faction in the party changes the tone of any campaign dramatically. I once witnessed a fairly interesting story arc with a Dathomerian that had multiple tribes that had the potential to be a real interesting arc, since even within their own communities they didn't agree on what the magic told them. There was "good Dathmoerians", who just wanted to be left alone and to recover from their losses, and the tribe that PC belonged to who were a strong militant faction that wanted to bring back the night mother to usher in a new golden age, a profoundly foul act. So even within communities and individuals there can be varied moralities that range between those that want to prosper and those that want to rule, even if they don't follow precisely the same lines that the Sith do. Mother Tenzin is clearly an evil character who is cunning and unrepentant in her schemes, while Ventress is probably the closest we saw to a "good" night sister on the big screen, a woman who saw it all and wanted to be left alone to live yet at no point was a morality spotlight shined on them; issues of morality just isn't a big deal to the night sisters, so morality simply wasn't an issue culturally they worked together for the greater whole. Likewise Gand Findsmen are a fascinating bunch that could literally be anywhere on the good/evil scale and it would never affect how they interact with one another.

In this particular case, the ones that wanted to rule won out and likely the "good dathomerians" were probably all slaughtered or brought into line when the Night Mother came back to life so that is a problem for another day. But it highlights a interesting case in point, even within the "good" and "bad" communities there are clashes. The night sisters clearly don't get on with the sith, and the sisters that just want to live generally may have very good reason not to trust a Jedi.  I find in that field, stepping away from morality from a representation of Philosophy is a fantastic idea, but rather the measuring stick to measure the strength of that person's character. If they want to dabble in a "grey area", perhaps encourage them to look into force powers that scream "nightsister", heal/harm? alter and conjure could be described into so many interesting ways to show outwardly that this individual is not a conventional Jedi by any stretch of the imagination; but rather an individual who draws on powers that some may consider; unnatural?

Then again, long as that unnatural stuff keeps everyone alive that character could be any morality they want and still be cool. Surivival against the empire inspires that kind of comradery, even among rouges! XD 

Edited by LordBritish

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Posted (edited)
On 3/22/2019 at 9:59 AM, penpenpen said:

The typical issue with grey jedi is that it's mostly for players who want to have their cake and eat it; to be a cool anti-hero and fling force lightning while still being one of the good guys.

Exactly this.  "Grey" Jedi is not a thing in Star Wars, it's been repeatedly proven.

Mechanically, being "Grey" is an attempt to access cool, evil Force Powers and not get smacked down by the evil stick.  Pretty much every single Star Wars tabletop RPG has some variant of the "when you fall to the Dark Side, your character irrevocably becomes an NPC" rule.  There have been rules for playing Dark Side games, but the default assumption is that the characters will be the heroes, and at least trying to be good.  Mechanically, "Grey" is trying to work around the system so you can do evil things or use evil powers and not get your character sheet taken away from you by the GM.

From a character standpoint, the people who tend to want "Grey" Jedi are the same kinds of people who think Superman is a boring, lame stick-in-the-mud who is no fun, while Batman is the coolest of the cool for being willing to do almost anything to win (or that The Punisher is even cooler because he just shoots dead everyone who pisses him off).  They're too cynical to engage with the old-fashioned, idealistic morality Jedi are supposed to aspire to, and want to play a darker and edgier anti-hero with a lightsaber and force powers.  They think people who do engage with that utterly selfless sense of bringing hope and light into the galaxy are hopelessly naive, foolish, and stupid for refusing see the "reality" of the world.

The above are strictly my opinions, based on what I have encountered from previous discussions and instances of these ideas, dating all the way back to the d6 iteration of Star Wars Roleplaying.  I am not stating unequivocally that everyone falls into these categories or that these are the only reasons for wanting a "Grey" Jedi.  Rather, in my experience, at least one of these two holds true for those I have seen advancing the "Grey Jedi" cause, though I am open to the possibility of this not being the case one of these days.

Now, you can still play a conflicted anti-hero while engaging with the morality system (of whatever version of Star Wars you're playing), you don't need special rules to give you permission.  You do need to be aware of what the rules are and how they're being enforced, and play the character in such a way that you toe the line closer than everyone else while not quite crossing over it.  The Superman, Batman, and Punisher examples were very carefully chosen. . . all those characters (at least, when their stories are at their most compelling) have codes of conduct that inform their behavior, lines they will not cross, and should they be forced to cross one of those lines, have hugely dramatic moments of character growth.  Batman pushes the lines farther than Superman, and The Punisher pushes them almost to breaking, but all three remain heroes because of those lines they will not cross.  Same applies in roleplay.  A technical pacifist character is willing to do more than an actual pacifist character, and a character with no qualms about using violence goes father than either of them.  But it doesn't make any of them automatically more or less moral than the other.

As for the lack of a mechanical benefit for being "in the middle," I'd like to talk about The Potentium.  It really got going in the New Jedi Order novels as part of that series' ruminations on the nature of the Jedi and the Force itself.  It seemed as though we were on the verge of a great revelation about the very nature of the Force itself. . . then papa Lucas stepped in and said "this idea is baloney," and he would know.  There is a Dark Side of the Force, and much like the Force itself, it seems to have a will and desire to corrupt the powerful to its service.  Obeying its call and dedicating yourself completely to its service nets you power. . . at a price.  On the opposite end, achieving true balance and understanding within the Force, not just its Dark Side, leads you to enlightenment (the Light Side Paragon end of the spectrum).  Being in the middle is just being undecided.  "Balance" in the Force isn't equal amounts good and evil, equal amounts Dark and Light, or even the concept of "neutrality," not hinging toward one side or the other.  The Force itself is balance.  Death and destruction lead to new life.  The Dark Side is the imbalance, the twisting, the perversion of the natural into the unnatural.  "Powerful Light, powerful Dark," is part of this balance, but only a small part, and here's the thing:  balance between Light and Dark isn't being a little bit of both.  Doing something good than turning around and doing something bad doesn't equally strengthen or weaken the Light and the Dark each, all it does it pull you one way, then the other, leaving you still in the middle.  The Dark is greedy, it wants you all to itself and for you to serve it completely.  The Light is balance itself, so claiming to be the balance between Light and Dark is like claiming to be the tightrope on which God walks.  A rather arrogant belief.

Now, there's nothing to say a character can't believe these things, but they are not how the Force works in-universe.  Just like a character in a High Fantasy game can believe there's no such thing as gods, and all the Cleric's fancy spells are just like all of a Wizard's fancy spells.  In-universe, that character is demonstrably wrong, as the gods are baked into just about every setting at a fundamental level and unequivocally exist, but a character who believes otherwise can be very interesting.  But they don't get a bonus on their saving throw versus Divine Smite because of it.

Edited by ErikModi

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"Light. Dark. Grey, I'm the guy holding the flechette launcher that fires all the metal shards that turn into molten meltal flying through your plasma blade and into your face, 'Jedi',"

Obviously, the entire galaxy can be 'grey'. "But why not my Jedi?" Because Han said so; "That's not how the Force works!" What complicated matters even worse, is the appearance of a Grey Jedi creed on the Interwebzzz. Don't know where that suddenly came from, but it complicates matters. Fuels people to want to be a grey Force user. And we thought there was no fuel in Star Wars.

But, seriously, I too have had no other experiences than players wanting to play Grey Jedi in order to wantonly destroy things with dark Force powers all the while not falling to the Dark Side.

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Jedi see “balance” of Force as absence of corruption (dark side) at least in my estimation.

Maybe “Grey Jedi” see it as balance in terms of both light and dark being "equal" and balanced against each other.  As ErikModi points out this perspective isn't really how the Force works in the setting but it could be a philosophy.  And your game doesn't have to use the setting's perspective on The Force (it is a game after all).

Mechanic: Destiny pool contribution is 1DS and 1LS (no Force Die roll)

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3 minutes ago, Jedi Ronin said:

Mechanic: Destiny pool contribution is 1DS and 1LS (no Force Die roll)

That's. . . actually not a bad idea.  Yeah, you add a Dark Side point straight away that the GM can use, but it's still an extra point in the overall pool.  And as soon as the Gm flips it, it becomes a Light Side point for the party to use.

Cheers to you!

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Posted (edited)
On 3/21/2019 at 6:31 PM, LazerSwordsman said:

I'm currently running The Chronicles of the Gatekeeper for a couple of friends of mine. We've just started "Episode II - Chasing Ghosts", and one of my players is a little sad that his plan to play as a mid-Morality Force-user isn't working out like he hoped. 

His character is the son of a Nightsister and a Jedi Knight, and he originally planned to walk the line between the Light Side and the Dark Side of the Force, maybe ultimately becoming a Gray Jedi... until he realized that there's no mechanical benefit for having a Morality between 30 and 70, and decided he might as well go all-the way Light. He's still hoping that he can return to his original character concept, and has asked if we could modify the Morality system to allow some kind of benefit for walking the middle-of-the-road path. 

I've seen GroggyGolem's KOTOR-inspired Serenity table, and I plan to use it from now on, but what I'm looking for is a reason to stay in the middle. Maybe a houserule which allows characters whose Morality falls within a narrow band (say, 45-55) to choose freely between using dark pips and light pips on Force Dice without taking Strain or having to flip a Destiny Point? Or maybe I could allow middle-Morality characters to use both Light and Dark versions of certain powers (like Protect and Force Lightning) as if they met the Morality prerequisites for both. Would allowing this break the system and make his PC too powerful?

Side question: Are there any Force Powers that are only used by Gray Jedi? 

I would say remove the dp flip, keep the strain cost.

This would encourage the usage of dark side pips and make for a stronger force user who can more constantly draw the force.

However keep the costs for Darksiders using light side pips. Make sure conflict is accrued appropriately and regularly.

You will find overtime as the force user grows in power they will have a choice. Either self restrict their use of the Dark side, essentially becoming lightsiders. Or, they will fall to the dark side.

Edited by TheShard

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Sorry I am coming in late to the party.  I agree that being able to use all pips  without taking strain or filling Destiny Point is overpowers.  You could set the option as the user can use between LS and DS pips, whichever is higher, but if he needs to dip into the other side it has the normal costs.  This way, if he rolls 2 DS and 1 LS point and needs a total of 3 to activate the power and upgrades he wants, he can opt to use DS at no cost but has to flip a Destiny Point and gain conflict to use the LS as it opposed to the DS Force he is using and vice-versa.  This gives him a bit of flexibility on the Force Dice rolls but still causes him to think about his actions.

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